Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Stone Giants of Salt in Wounds & The Granite Shard War

The Mammoth Wardens were (are) the tribe of indigenous stone giants native to the area in and around Salt in Wounds. The Granite Shard war was (is) a conflict that took place between them and the defenders of the Fortress Salzinwuun.


The Mammoth Wardens


Since the binding of the Tarrasque a decade prior to the onset of hostilities, tensions had been rising between the stone giants and the polyglot of adventurers, military forces, and merchants encamped around the beast. The continuing presence of the Tarrasque had scared away most big game (including the titular mammoths on which the giants relied upon) and there were several incidents of jumpy humans had attacked giants on sight without provocation (though, no one on either side had ever been killed). And, while the Salzinwuun residents hadn't taken part, a merchant slave caravan had attempted to abduct several juvenile stone giants before being slaughtered by the Mammoth Warden tribe. Both Salzinwwun defenders & the stone giants had sent diplomatic envoys, though without much success in alleviating tensions.
Meanwhile, a well respected bardic stone giant had a vision of the valley soaked in blood and filled with mutated creatures while humans carried each stone giant to toss in the maw of the Tarrasque. After discussing it for month, the elders decided that they had no choice but to drive off the 'little ones' who had invaded the valley... knowing full well that this would mean freeing the Tarrasque so they could finally be free of it.


The Granite Shard War


The Granite Shard war opened with a siege like bombardment of Salzinwuun, with huge stone hurled by the giants; an act which caught the fortress wholly off guard. After much of the wooden fortifications were destroyed, the Mammoth Warden warriors charged in to slay and drive off the defenders. This first battle was especially bloody, with tremendous acts of heroism and brutality and loss on both sides. Still, it had been exceptional individuals who had originally bound the Tarrasque. And while some of these heroes had wandered off in the long, frustrating years following the imprisonment of the monster, the stone giants of the Mammoth Wardens tribe discovered a garrison of martially and magically skilled defenders who proved too much for them.
After their first, best push was repulsed and most of their warriors slain; the stone giants knew they had lost the war, even if it took much time for defeat to finally, fully claim them.
No longer with the force necessary to attempt another direct assault, the Mammoth Wardens shifted their tactics to asymmetric warfare; abandoning their traditional encampments sites in the valley lowlands and drifting up the mountainsides where the 'little people' had problems reaching them. The tribal war council also shifted to targeting vulnerable caravans coming into and out of Salzinwuun, hoping that through prolonged isolation they might sap the morale and fighting strength of Salzinwuun. While Tarrasque flesh had previously been eaten by a good portion of the fort's occupants, the effectiveness of the stone giant caravan raids ensured that meat butchered from the beast became the mainstay of every being garrisoned there in addition to bone and horn becoming the preferred material for the crafting of tools & weapons. For their part, the 'little people' sent countless missions to root out and kill\capture the remaining Mammoth Wardens, believing that by taking hostages they might be able to cow the rest of the tribe into peace. Utilizing the hostages to begin rebuilding the fortress Salzinwuun created the demand & legal framework for the mass enslavement which persists till this day.
The Granite Shard War remained actively hostile for years, as the more militant giants were slain while those without the will or capacity to fight were captured and enslaved. When Salzinwuun rangers estimated that there were less than 10 free giants remaining in the nearby mountains, they claimed victory and moved on.


Aftermath and the Stone Giants Today


The Mammoth Warden tribe of stone giants have been almost completely transformed into a rune inscribed hereditary slave caste whose labor, incredible strength, and stone-crafting abilities are integral to the functioning of Salt in Wound's economy. They are utilized heavily by the God-Butchers and ownership is one of the mainstays of wealth amongst the Meridian Houses. Total numbers of stone giants has only recently begun to exceed numbers fielded by the Mammoth Wardens in their prime.
The stone giants of Salt in Wounds seldom speak and seem extremely obedient, leading many citizens to conclude that they are 'simple creatures' and natural born slaves. What limited numbers escape (to join their freeborn tribesmen outside the city walls) are considered aberrations.
Inwardly however, the vast majority of stone giants consider themselves full members of the Mammoth Warden clan, loyal to hidden elders many of them have never met. Some covert communication has been established between giants within and without the city. The leaders on both sides of the wall have decided to unleash their most terrible weapon to finally win the Granite Shard War: patience. They await their opportunity to win freedom for all (including the Tarrasque) and destroy Salt in Wounds so they can finally reclaim the valley that is their by birthright. However, some giants gave up long ago on any such dreams, and instead labor to improve their lot as slaves or (more rarely) winning their freedom and making their own place in the economy of Salt in Wounds.
The Circle of Release has made contact with the hidden, moving village of free Mammoth Wardens, and is currently negotiating an alliance as the aims of the groups seem to dovetail nicely. 


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